With one mighty swing, Matt Holliday gave Jimmy McComas' a big league baseball.
Almost like the one Jimmy gave to Darryl Kile's family 11 years ago.
Jimmy, 23, formerly of Collinsville, was sitting in the left field bleachers June 9 in Cincinnati when the Cardinal slugger unloaded a 464-foot gland slam with Jimmy's name on it.
"It was funny," Jimmy said. "A kid in the first row had a sign that said 'Hit It Here, Holliday.' And my buddy with me yelled, 'Hit it here."
The next thing Jimmy knew, the blast came down next to him.
"It was a line drive. I wasn't going to stick my hand out to catch it and lose a finger."
You might have seen Jimmy on ESPN. The replay was proof to his dad and mom, Jim and Debbie McComas back in Collinsville, that their son really did get the ball.
Dad called to remind us that his son was on the front page of the News-Democrat on July 7, 2002. Jimmy, 12 at the time, had given up his prized possession -- a Darryl Kile autographed baseball to Kile's family. The Cardinals pitcher had died the month before.
"His kids might have wanted it because they may not have anything with their dad's signature," Jimmy said at the time.
Two days after the news of Kile's death, Jimmy decided to give the family the ball that most of the pitching staff had signed before a game earlier that summer. Jimmy had his dad take him to Busch Stadium and handed it over to the Cardinals staff.
"It was hard to give it up because I really liked it, but it felt like the right thing to do," Jimmy said.
Dad Jim was so proud. He was just as proud when Jimmy called from the Cincinnati bleachers that he had the grand slam ball.
"Right away, he was talking about giving it to Matt Holliday," Jim said. "I told him he ought to keep this one. He deserves it."
Jimmy lives in Shelbyville, Ind., about 80 minutes away from Cincy. He works with horses and jockeys at Indiana Downs, a horse racing track in Shelbyville.
The Cardinals beat the Reds 11-4 Sunday night, which made Jimmy even happier.
Jimmy called the Cardinals but he hasn't heard back from them.
"I would never sell it," Jimmy said of the new treasure he keeps in his home. "And I would never give it away -- except to Matt."
-- Patrick Kuhl